The media fly. Tom drives. The media sleep in hotels. Tom sleeps in his car. The media sit in the media center. Tom walks the course. It’s the PGA Tour, seen and written differently. Following are a few observations about Ben Curtis from Tom’s e-book on the 2010 Shell Houston Open.
By Tom Collins
Special to ARMCHAIR GOLF
DUE TO THE LAYOUT of the course—which is a nice way of saying it’s a long walk to get to 89 percent of the holes here—I wanted to follow a group teeing off of the first hole and simply walk with that group for the duration. When I reviewed the tee sheet and the clock on the wall, the decision was relatively simple.
I didn’t want to deal with the crowds following Phil [Mickelson] and I didn’t want to watch the ridiculously slow pre-shot routine of Michael Allen, so that meant following the group in the middle of these two opposing forces: Will MacKenzie, Chez Reavie, and Ben Curtis. Although I’m familiar with Curtis after his stellar play last week at Bay Hill and his 2003 Open Championship win, I didn’t know anything about MacKenzie or Reavie—and that’s just the way I like it.
Ben Curtis has a half-moon cookie swing. That’s the best way to describe it. The backswing and follow through are two different colors of the same baked good. Whereas his backswing is crisp and his wrists set themselves quickly to bring the club back to parallel, his follow through is more of a lazy, sweeping motion. His swing almost slows down as it progresses, and he finishes high, almost to help the ball into the air. Obviously, when his timing is on, he’s REALLY ON. You can’t win an Open Championship, besting the greatest players in the world, without a good swing.
Watching each player warm up to tee off of the 8th, I couldn’t help but wonder about the look that’s always plastered on Curtis’ face. As a professional golfer, his eyes and facial expressions make him look like a super-nice guy, perhaps even a bit of a push-over. He always looks like he’s just waking up or squinting like the Godfather. If he were a hitman making contract kills, the look he has on his face right now would be the scariest thing I have ever seen in my life.
And later still ...
Ben Curtis made a par, but I almost fell asleep when I tried to watch him. He takes as much time over his putts as Jeff Maggert does for every shot. Come on Ben, there’s no coffee around here for 1,000 yards.
Tom Collins is a former caddie who is following the PGA Tour in 2010. Learn more about his original e-books at TheReluctantJamBoy.com.